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Posted by: Doug Henwood | December 11, 2010

Protest Obama

I’m one of initial signers of this open letter to the left–liberals who enthusiastically supported Barack Obama in 2008, and said many silly things about him back then. Please read and then, if you agree, add your name to the growing list of endorsers.

Here’s an unintentional endorsement: Tom Hayden, one of the addressees, denounced the suggestion that he protest Obama as “vile” and “toxic,” and damaging to the “fragile social ecology” required for the growth of the peace movement. What a strange view of politics—give the imperial warriors free rein, because criticizing them might impede opposition.

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Responses

  1. The election of Obama has not galvanized protest movements. To the contrary, it has depressed and undermined them, with the White House playing an active role in the discouragement and suppression of dissent

    This is the reason Obama was allowed to run in the first place.

  2. I just posted a note on Tom Hayden’s Facebook page, commenting on his support for the tax compromise. It is amazing how these diehard liberals will compromise on anything. I had a colleague at college who said he just loved Clinton because he would make any compromise to get a little for the average person. This made me realize that he was a bigger dope than I had thought! But it helped me see how the right stays so dominant here. And why the college administration was able to keep kicking the shit out of us.

  3. Man, read some of those comments on the petition. Half the signators are as confused as members of the Left Establishment are… whatever they are.

  4. So, who is the “fucking retard” who deems Jesse Jackson Jr. or Michael Eric Dyson “high profile progressives?” What is this the Lazy Left versus the Establishment Left?

    I don’t understand all this contrived disappointment and outrage with Obama. Those who had expectations of Obama suffer from either: (1) a puerile understanding of American politics; or (2) some romanticized and exaggerated 1960s idealism. Those in the latter group, do the younger generation a favor–throw away the rose-colored revolutionary glasses and move-on.

    No serious, reasonable person would believe that at this time, place, space conjuncture in United States history that Obama, let alone Bernie Sanders or Dennis Kucinich, would or could implement an even mild progressive agenda.

  5. Wow, Cornel West is one of the lead signators. I am beyond surprised. Good for him, though. It will be interesting to see if any of the left-liberal celebrities being appealed to will break ranks. For the last two years, every time another abomination comes down the pike (which of course is a weekly occurrence), Bill Fletcher threatens to break ranks. Haha, I guess that’s what “inside-outside” strategy means…

  6. What the hell is “social ecology?” And how the fuck did Hayden become Gaia?

  7. Chris Hedges nailed the executive progressives here:

    http://www.truthdig.com/avbooth/item/hedges_on_liberal_failure_hope_for_the_future_20101115/

  8. Let there be no more talk of Tom Hayden. There is ample proof that he is a man of yesterday and that his principles were easily bought off by campaign donations when he gave cover to Israel for their terrors in Lebanon. Of course he issued a mea-culpa but obviously that didn’t mean much. By the way, Barack Obama denounced him and the hippies of his generation late in the campaign when the brouhaha about Ailes came up – said their time was over and to move on. – Well, Tom took his marching orders to heart. What a waste. At least Nader and Cornel West have maintained their commitmnent to principles over cultism.

  9. the “indispensible nation” dispensed with:

    from Tom Engelhardt and Alfred McCoy:

    “Secretary of Defense Robert Gates recently offered the following bit of Washington wisdom: ‘The fact is, governments deal with the United States because it’s in their interest, not because they like us, not because they trust us, and not because they believe we can keep secrets…. [S]ome governments deal with us because they fear us, some because they respect us, most because they need us. We are still essentially, as has been said before, the indispensable nation.’”

    “Faced with a fading superpower incapable of paying the bills, China, India, Iran, Russia, and other powers, great and regional, provocatively challenge U.S. dominion over the oceans, space, and cyberspace. Meanwhile, amid soaring prices, ever-rising unemployment, and a continuing decline in real wages, domestic divisions widen into violent clashes and divisive debates, often over remarkably irrelevant issues. Riding a political tide of disillusionment and despair, a far-Right patriot captures the presidency with thundering rhetoric, demanding respect for American authority and threatening military retaliation or economic reprisal. The world pays next to no attention as the American Century ends in silence” [Engelhardt, McCoy].

    http://www.tomdispatch.com/archive/175327/

  10. indispensable proofreading…

  11. Uh, Vico, if you pay any attention or do any research, you’ll discover that few of the original signers of the petition ever held any illusions about Obama — or what the DP is able to or wants to accomplish, for that matter. This is true of Henwood, for sure. No illusions = no disappointment. As Doug has explained elsewhere, the purpose of the petition is not to express sincere dismay over the Obama Admin’s trajectory, but to put its left-liberal enablers and apologists on the spot.

  12. One of the signers of this letter is Chris Hedges who, on his blog, has a link to a site that praises Iranian President Ahmadinejad, a Holocaust denier, and current advocate of the genocide of the Jews.
    My two cents: this letter will go no where and have no effect, for two reasons. One, anti-Semitism, properly called Jew-hating, has destroyed the “Left”. Two, the so-called Left’s adoption of the Green agenda means they have no intellectual basis to oppose massive austerity since the most important thing is to reduce the population’s “carbon footprint” to prevent global warming,(in their opinion).
    So you(the so-called Left) shall dwell in obscurity forever, unless these two things change.

    Sincerely,
    Ed Beaugard

    P.S. In addition, Roger Moore is a buffoon who prevented his employees from unionizing among other things.

  13. Oops, meant to write Michael Moore. Roger Moore seems like a very nice man.

  14. Um, Id, why are you so defensive? And, why are you defending Doug? He’s a big boy and if he felt my comments were directed at him, which they were not, he would have responded.

    I’ve followed Doug’s work for years and know where he stands on these issues. In addition, I’ve defended Doug when he was attacked by Gary Younge and his minions at the Nation, at panel discussion during the 2008 election.

    I do pay attention and I do my research but this is a blog, not a peer reviewed journal, so pardon me for not providing can exhaustive list of citations. There are many signers of the list, who in print, on the web, or in various public appearances have supported Hillary Clinton and John Edwards, as somehow favorable alternatives to Obama or McCain.

  15. If “Vico” will open his/her eyes to this section of the website:

    http://protestobama.org/what-we-were-saying/

    He/she will discover that that the whole point of the letter is that rather than “contrived disappointment and outrage with Obama” we were predicting exactly what materialized.

    So how about we establish some basic groundrules. When someone calls you out on factually incorrect statements, you own up to them, and you apologize for them.

    That’s what we’re demanding from the “establishment left”, from ourselves and we’ll demand it from you too.

    This has nothing to do with peer review-it’s about basic decency.

  16. I didn’t think my post was “defensive,” Vico, but, whatever, you’re entitled to your interpretation. Anyway, what John Halle said…

  17. One of the signers of this letter is Chris Hedges who, on his blog, has a link to a site that praises Iranian President Ahmadinejad, a Holocaust denier, and current advocate of the genocide of the Jews.

    Uh-huh. And can you back this unlikely libel up, or is all about the propaganda, facts be damned.

  18. @Cian,

    My mistake.
    The link praising Ahmadinejad was on a website that published one of Hedge’s columns, so obviously, he can’t be held responsible for that. This site removed posts of mine that complained about the link. It also appears that that website took down that particular link, which is a good thing.
    But I stand by what I said. In general, anti-Semitism has destroyed the Left in this country. The double-standard applied to Israel is truly appalling. For example, I’m still waiting for the boycott of ships from Colombia, the boycott of academics from Colombian Universities, the campaign for divestiture of investments held by pension funds in the Colombian economy, etc. by the anti-Israel protesters.

  19. if the ‘left’ can be destroyed by opposing the subjugation and slaughter of oppressed peoples, then ed can rebuild it in his image and likeness.

  20. Thanks, Doug, for participating in this letter. I signed it. Seems to build on your hope that Obama’s failures will represent a fruitful disenchantment of the soft left with the Democrats and the liberal establishment.

    Oh, and Ed, if you want to boycott Colombia, go ahead. We’ve got the Boycott Killer Coke campaign, seven years and counting. Then after Colombia invaded Ecuador, Chavez led a boycott of Colombia. I drink tea and avoid cocaine, so I’m not sure what else I can do for you, Ed my boy!

    Israel receives more than just elite strategic support, but broad “Judeo-Christian” cultural and mass-political support, because it is a white supremacist settler state. Listen to white supremacist in chief Obama gush over “our shared heritage” with Israel at the AIPAC meeting… that says it all. Israel’s very existence as a Jewish-supremacist state and the US Empire’s support of it are evil, and a very specific racist evil that touches many Americans’ (and American Jews’) last nerve. But if that’s too harsh and you’re a Zionist, there’s the more targeted boycott of Israeli goods made in Occupied Palestine. Whatever. Do what you can… or go on calling people “anti-Semite”… which, in 2010, is as politically laughable a charge as “anti-white”…


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